Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dealing with the death of someone close

My father died unexpectedly last week. He was in great shape and loved life. So to see him gone overnight was a huge shock and I still don't believe that he's not here. He and I had a special bond so I'll miss him every day till I die. This experience taught me a lot of things - emotional and mundane that I wanted to share with those who might have to go through the same sad reality:

- Inform family and friends right away. Not only people care, they actually want to help. And you'd need all the help you can get.
- Take care of the living. My main focus was making sure that my mom was ok and providing emotional and psychological support to her. It was important for her to understand that she'd be taken care of and she should feel secure
- Find the right funeral home. It can make a huge difference. A little bit of online search and checking with a few folks can help you narrow down your selection
- Communicate funeral details as well as any other religious ceremonies at your church, temple, mosque. Assign this task to someone in the family so you don't have to deal with it.
- Ensure there's enough food for everyone where the family is getting together. In our case, all our friends were very nice and dropped off food every day for many days.
- Find out if there's a will. You don't need to address it right away but it'll be good to  know if there were some specific wishes for funeral and other things
- There are a lot of agencies like Social Security, DMV, etc. that need to be informed of the death depending on the person's age of course. I researched on Google and found a lot of resources. This one had good details -
 -You'd wish you had spent a lot more time with your relative. There's a feeling of guilt. But realize there's nothing you can do to change that. Focus now on the living. In these tragedies people tend to focus so much on the dead that they forget people who are living need a lot more support
- Don't keep dwelling about your relative. You will miss them without dwelling on it. The more you think the more painful it'll be.
- Be careful about what you say to your other family members. Emotions can lead to words that might hurt others.
- Cry. It's good for you and you have to let your emotions out.
- And it's true what they say about time being the best healer. Every day it gets slightly better. Keep yourself busy in work, taking care of others, gardening, sports etc. Distractions are a good friend

Remember like is a continuum. We keep living in one form or another. Stop fighting over the small stuff. Enjoy every moment in this life and don't be afraid.

I know I'll see my father again and I look forward to the day I'll be re-united with him.

Here's the poem I dedicated to my father at the funeral

My Papa, My Hero
-          Mandeep Khera

My Papa, My Hero
He was our rock
And I never thought he would stop;
Issue, big or small, he worried
Looking for ways to solve the issues, he took them as his own and hurried;
Always there for family, friends, and even a stranger,
Extending his help to others even while fighting his own cancer;
Jokes, poems, political speeches, he knew them – big or small,
His confidence, charisma, and passion made him the leader of all;
He called for advice except for fashion
He always wore dapper clothes with passion;
The thing that mattered to him the most was family,
Let’s go have fun, watch a movie, play cards or holi -but only together as a family;
He wanted to be always in touch and communicate,
When he called, and I didn’t pick up the phone, he felt betrayed;
When I called him he would always enthusiastically say, “Hahn, beta, kya haal hai?” (yes, son! How are you?)  and made me feel special,
To not make him sad, I wouldn’t tell him my plans for travel;
I want to be strong like him and not cry,
But how is it possible no matter how hard I try;
I know he’s still here to watch over us and pray,
His family is here so how can he be far away;
He’s my Hero, He’s still our rock,
And I know he’ll never stop.
I love you Papa and will always miss you until I stop.